Only 10% of the population is left handed, so beginning in Little League a right handed hitter sees mainly right handed pitchers. Even in the major leagues, only 22% of the pitchers are left handed. Left handed pitches come from a different angle, different release point, and usually with more movement on their fastball for some mysterious reason known only to the baseball gods.
My coach at Texas Tech, Kal Segrist, was a great hitter in his day and a great teacher. His secret to hitting left handers was to look for (expect) the pitch to be on the outer half of the plate and to let it get deeper in the hitting zone (closer to the catcher)…then drive it right center field. Good left handed pitchers work the outside corner to right handers almost exclusively…that’s where their success resides. Even in the major leagues right handed hitters will try to pull pitches that could be hit well to right center field and instead hit routine ground balls to the short stop.
It’s very important, in my opinion, to start teaching young hitters early to hit the ball where it’s pitched. Here’s a favorite drill of mine I use for my 8 year olds and my 18 year olds.
Using two tees, one about 6 to 8 inches in front of the plate and on the inside part of the plate and another on the outside part of the plate about 12 to 18 inches deeper, I ask them to hit the outside deep pitch back at the pitcher…in other words don’t pull it. I don’t worry about hitting it to the opposite field. The inside pitch of course should be pulled. Then, in underhand straight on toss hitting we work on it as well. First I work them on the outside pitch and they know where I am tossing it. Then we do the inside pitch…and then we I mix it up, making them “read” the location and hitting it where it’s pitched.
They’re learning an “inside out” swing that will become very valuable as they get older. They will be able to execute the hit and run and can move a runner over from second to third by hitting a ground ball to the right side.
Have fun with this drill…it’s a challenge at first but it is very learnable and gives them great satisfaction and confidence as they acquire this skill. Try it!